That’s not to say that I won’t eat a burnt hot dog or obliterate some watermelon tomorrow, but you’ll forgive me (and Frederick Douglass) if I don’t go out and lead a parade.
The cognitive dissonance it would require for me to pretend that the occasion is cause for unfettered celebration – I just can’t this year. (Neither could Douglass in 1852.)
In 2010, I wrote a column about the invitation the Mid-South Tea Party sent me to a “Party Like It’s 1776!” LiberTea party. (I accepted the invitation after an initial inquiry as to whose slave I would be if I attended.)
How do I, a black woman, fit into a commemoration of 1776?
“I don’t know. I’ve never looked at it that way,” said organizer Lynn Moss.
I think Moss is telling the truth. And that’s unfortunate, because a glaring failure of this movement is its inability (refusal?) to consider how their talking points are perceived by people who don’t look like them.
The party was at a Bartlett bowling alley – I remember that I purposefully wore a dress so I could have a reason to decline any invitations to bowl.
The event was a celebration of the “spirit of 1776, not the atmosphere of 1776,” elaborated Mark Herr, who can trace his roots back to ancestors’ arrival in America from Switzerland in 1708.
This Herr guy was… Lord… Wow.
But then, Herr talks about state sovereignty and abolishing amendments 14 through 17 (the 15th gave people of color the right to vote), and the unfairness of federal hate crimes laws.
“In general, as a white man, I feel disadvantaged,” he says.
My guess is that wherever Herr is tomorrow, he’ll be celebrating the Fourth.